There's no getting away from the headline highlight of the Zermatt - a brand new campervan for under £40k. Of course, there are options to add if you wish, which will push that price up, but in essence this is a brilliant budget-friendly option and a very good-looking one at that.
Base vehicle: VW Transporter T6 Price from: £39,995 Berths: 2/4 Travel seats: 4 Length: 4.89m Width: 1.90m Height: 2.00m Gross weight: 2,800kg Payload: 485kg
VW campervan specialist, Volksleisure, was finding that the price of its typical conversion on a new T6 had crept up to £60k – a figure beyond the reach of many potential customers. Clearly there was demand for a £40-grand campervan – but including all the essentials, not a back-to-basics model. And so the Zermatt was born – with a £39,995 windscreen sticker.
For that you get a Volkswagen Transporter Startline T28 as the base vehicle, powered by the 101bhp (102PS) 2-litre TDI engine with a five-speed manual gearbox. This entry-level panel van also comes with a 5in touchscreen display, DAB radio, CD-player and Bluetooth and a driver’s seat with height and lumbar adjustment.
Safety equipment includes an automatic post-collision braking system, Brake Assist, Driver Alert System, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), ESP and Hill Hold Assist. And also included are low rolling resistance tyres, regenerative braking and stop/start.
To this list Volksleisure adds air-conditioning, as well as colour-coded bumpers and mirrors, and the base vehicle is specified with a tailgate rather than barn doors. Privacy glass and an opening window behind the kitchen are also standard. Wheels are 16in steel rims, unless you pay extra – £600 for Volkswagen alloys, £900 for 18in aftermarket items, or £1,100 for massive 20in bling, which will surely ruin the ride.
Inside, it’s the classic side kitchen layout with a modern, well-finished appearance. The rear seat is the popular fixed RIB bench with adjustable headrests. It is upholstered to match the cab seats (both with twin armrests) in Volkswagen’s dark grey Simora cloth. This trim is also used on the side panel next to the bench seat, while elsewhere carpet trim is used around windows, etc.
The usual simple levers allow the RIB seat to fold down into a bed, in which you sleep on the opposite surface to that used as seating – so the bed is flat, the bench is shaped. The resultant double berth measures 1.86m by 1.20m and has two reading lights over the head of the bed, while top-and-bottom-hung curtains (and cab stick-on screens) should ensure effective blackout. Usefully, you can alter the angle of the rear third of the mattress – perfect for lazy Sunday mornings!
The design of this seat system also allows the rear section to be raised to a vertical position for increased boot space, but there’s no provision for long loads to extend into the seat base. If you want to carry a Porta Potti it will go in the boot.
The white furniture with contrasting black fridge front and grey Tristone solid acrylic worktops seen here is just one option – there are around 40 colours of cabinetwork to choose from, although most popular are white, silver or an elm driftwood style. The fridge is a 50-litre compressor type, while the sink is fed from a 30-litre underfloor tank and the two-burner hob takes its supply from the usual Campingaz 907 cylinder. A microwave can be added as an option.
Both cab seats swivel, while the table is a pole-in-the-hole type in front of the bench. Anyone dining from the cab seats will need to use a tray.
Another key feature, of course, is the pop-top roof – here a high-quality German-made Reimo unit, for which the upper bed is a £465 extra. As standard, therefore, the Zermatt is a two-berth, but your kids might prefer to sleep in a tent or awning (a free-standing Easy Camp inflatable costs from £499).
Painted white as standard, this budget camper can come in any VW colour but you’ll pay £665 to colour-match the roof if your T6 isn’t Candy White. Other options such as a Highline-spec van (£2,000), 148bhp (150PS) engine (£2,500) or DSG automatic gearbox (£2,000) can soon push up the price, so you’re probably best to keep things simple. That said, you might consider the Webasto diesel-fired heating a necessity, even at £1,350.
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